The cost of professional photos
If I wanted to buy a car, I would weigh up all the possible options, rather than automatically choosing the cheapest car that I could. Would you do the same?
It may well be that you answered ‘yes’, but for most of us, when looking for a car what we’re looking for is ‘value for money’ as opposed to ‘the cheapest price’, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that there is a big distinction between the two.
Getting value for money indicates that the product you receive is worth the price you pay for it. It may be that in order to get something that you regard as good ‘value for money’, you may have to pay a bit more; as paying less may result in you getting a cheaper, but vastly inferior product.
The same is true in photography. I find that Mums looking for a photoshoot tend to weigh up photographers on the basis of price alone as if there is no difference between photographers, and it’s merely a case of finding the cheapest one. This assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. How much photographers charge is based on a lot of different things.
Ask the important question
I’ll lay it out for you; photographers are not some sub-human species for whom greed runs through their veins.
Photographers are like everyone else – doing their very best to make a living. With the overheads that come with running a professional photography business, it’s very difficult to be cheap. When you come across a photographer who is really cheap, you must ask yourself the important question: How?
There are a number of reasons why a photographer might be cheap, but here are a few possibles:
- They are less experienced or less qualified than more expensive photographers
- They work for a large chain
- They don’t need the money to pay the bills
These are perhaps three of the most likely reasons why a photographer might be cheap, and they have negatives attached to them. A photographer is not very experienced or qualified, then the chances are that the photos you receive are unlikely to be the same standard of photos that you can expect from an experienced photographer.
If they work for a large chain, their personal reputation is not on the line. They have access to marketing and advertising revenue that a sole trader photographer can only dream of, and consequently, they will always get business, regardless of whether their photographers are worth their salt. A photographer who works for such a chain, the incentive to provide stunning images is somewhat lessened when they know that no matter what their performance is, they’ll receive the same salary at the end of the month. The same is true for the third category – those who don’t need the money – but to a lesser extent.
What should be the main consideration?
I guess that as a photographer myself, it’s not my job to tell you what should be your main consideration, but I’m very happy to give some guidance. Some may regard the cost of professional photos as a luxury, others value the experience and are willing to invest in a family photo shoot, and secure their memories for the next generation. Who doesn’t enjoy looking at old photographs?
The cost of professional photos should be treated as an investment. Those memories will only become more special as time passes, so why not spend what is required in order to make sure that you get the perfect photographs that are going to live long in the memory?
In short, having established that professional photographs are an essential luxury, shouldn’t the main consideration be the quality of the photographs? Employing a good photographer and paying them the market rate for a photographer of that level should ensure that you get a photographer who possesses good equipment and knows how to use it and one who is well trained and continues to invest in training.
Cost of Professional Photos – Why should I pay more?
Quite simply, if you don’t want to pay more, then you’re not going to. However, if you think about all of the things that a photographer might have to pay for – rent, equipment, software, props, accounting, taxes, childcare, training, marketing being just a few – then you should be able to understand that running a photography business isn’t a cost-free thing to do. If a photographer is able to do all of this and still charge you next to nothing, then something doesn’t quite add up.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the why. Why you want a photoshoot done. Going to a large chain and getting some photographs will certainly allow you to have a record of what your family or child looked like at a particular moment in time.
These chains are generally fairly prescriptive, and it’s quite unlikely that going to them will get you a unique and individual photo that perfectly captures the character of your family. Independent photographers generally devote more time to a single shoot and consequently, you’re more likely to a bespoke and highly individual photograph that will help you remember the good times.
A family portrait experience shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach, but a custom experience
Do take the time to look at a photographer’s portfolio and select someone whose work you love. That’s a good first step, and then check the pricing for a family photoshoot fits your budget (most photographers have a page dedicated to photography pricing or are happy to chat through the options with you).
If you have chosen well you’ll love the results and want them all!
About the photographer: Sue is a professional portrait photographer based in Harlow, Essex and she specialises in baby and child portraiture. Being a parent, she understands just how special your child is to you and her aim is to produce a collection of images that are natural and meaningful to your family. No two moments are ever the same and she wants to perfectly capture those early precious memories and the natural character of your child. For more information please call 01279 433392, or visit the Sue Kennedy Photography website.